Ever since Edward Jenner (pictured) deliberately infected a patient with a virus to protect them from smallpox, vaccines have played a major role in the medicinal toolkit. By sensitising our bodies to a weak form of a disease, they allow our immune systems to better respond to a future attack. However effective this may be, vaccines have a history of being distrusted. A backlash in the UK against the combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) shot shows how these fears can set back progress. In 1998, a research paper that fraudulently linked MMR to autism led to a sharp drop in parents taking their children to be vaccinated. The 18-year high of measles outbreaks last year is testament to the damage caused. However, thanks to a large body of evidence, including one recent study showing that MMR doesn't cause cognitive damage, the UK’s vaccination rates are now higher than ever.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.